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Long Islanders Dealing With Roads Littered With Potholes

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Peak pothole season is still a good two or three months away, but already the crop is considerable and growing on Long Island, where latest surveys show bad roads cost drivers hundreds and hundreds of dollars a year.

You could lose your teeth and your wallet with trips to the mechanic.

Vivak Schgal of Manhasset spoke of a recent experience driving on the Long Island Expressway.

"It was like a giant crater in the road. I noticed my whole tire's gone," Schgal told CBS2's Jennifer McLogan on Tuesday.

Long Island potholes
Long Islanders are paying hundreds of dollars on average to fix their cars due to pothole damage. (Photo: CBS2)

So what's the other damage? According to the Washington-based transportation think tank "Trip," Long Island drivers like Vivak will pay $719 this year on average for pothole repair and vehicle depreciation.

"Dented rims, damage to suspension, steering gear or even the undercarriage of vehicles," AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair said.

CBS2's McLogan then took a drive with Sinclair.

"We've got bad roads, we've got weather, and we've got trucks all combining," Sinclair said.

He offered tips drivers can use to avoid expensive problems.

* Watch the water for lurking potholes
* Slow down, but don't brake as you hit them
* Don't tailgate, so you can avoid the pothole ahead the driver just hit

MOREPotholes Off Long Island Expressway Causing Headaches

The latest studies show 70 percent of Long Island roads are in poor or mediocre condition. A fundamental reason for this has been a surge in traffic.

More than 20 percent of all vehicles in New York state are registered in Nassau and Suffolk counties and bad roads are a top complaint. The Town of Hempstead is introducing a new interactive online map to plot potholes and request a fix.

"In the capital plan, we've allocated $26 million for 2019 and 2020 for road repair," Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen said.

MOREGov. Cuomo Pledges Additional $100 Million To Repair Potholes Across New York State

The pothole business has picked up at Al's Hubcaps and Wheel Repair in Mineola.

"Your tires take a beating. Your rims take a beating. Bends, cracks, bubbles in tires," said shop owner Al Eisenberg.

Federal and state funding for road resurfacing dipped here last year. That's critical, said the Long Island Contractors Association. The longer it's delayed, the more it will cost taxpayers.

Some psychologists say the stress of bumping along a bad road can contribute to road rage behavior.

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